Unfortunately this is just an example of an overly enthusiastic DVD bootlegger, but The Phantom Menace could actually have been a great film if only it had co-starred Dutch from Predator. "Get to the choppa!!"
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Just in case you're wondering where I am in the plot of Lord of the Rings Online, here's Kharrn having a quick chat with Gandalf the White before Gandalf rides off on an errand known only to himself. That's Théoden King's hall in the background at Edoras. The town is currently emptying as the women and children of the Rohirrim head for the ancient fortress of Helm's Deep.
So in terms of the books, this puts us near the end of The Two Towers. I will say that this expansion has been much more Tolkein centered than the last several. Big parts of the plot the player actually takes part in are from the books. I've recently met Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas again, and witnessed Théoden escaping the grip of Saruman. Currently helping the people of Rohan prepare for invasion.
Soon Kharrn the Barbarian will take part in the battle of Helms Deep where shields will be splintered,spears will be shaken, and Orc heads will roll.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I've been reading William Preston's 'Old Man' stories since the first, 'Helping Them Take the Old Man Down', and I've enjoyed each one. The stories are tributes or homages to my favorite pulp magazine hero, Doc Savage but they are far more than that. The latest, ' Each in His Prison, Thinking of the Key', appearing in this months issue of Asimov's SF magazine is a sterling example of what I'm talking about.
Yes, there are plenty of references to Doc, (Though it's made clear that the character is NOT Doc Savage) and there's even some pulp style adventure, though with a nifty modern science fiction twist. But what this story and the previous ones all have are wonderful character studies. In this one, a young man with a particular sort of mental talent is tasked with trying to learn the imprisoned Old Man's secrets. Things don't go the way he plans, but we, the readers, learn much about the young man himself. Preston writes about people, first and foremost, even in the midst of all the adventure.
The story shifts in time from right now to a few months back, and the narrative switches back and forth, but I never got lost. If you're a Doc Savage fan you will find much to smile about, though you don't really need to know about Doc to enjoy the story. Call it some DVD extras for old time fans. You also don't have to have read the previous Old Man tales to read this one, but I'll bet you'll want to go back once you've read Prison. The first three stories are available on Kindle.
And speaking of Kindle, I didn't realize that you could purchase individual issues of Asimov's on the Kindle until last night. Once I knew there was a new Old Man story available, I'd planned to order an issue of the print magazine, but when I got to Amazon I saw that I could get it on my Kindle and so I was reading the story within five minutes.
Something I was telling my buddy Cliff about last night (Cliff is also a big fan of the Old Man) is that The Old Man shares a quality that Doc has and that Superman had when I was growing up. He's the kind of hero that once he shows up, you just know things will be all right. He'll do what needs to be done because it's the right thing to do. Can't ask for more than that.
Monday, February 24, 2014
I feel like I've been neglecting the blog so far this year, but truthfully I just haven't had that much to report. This blog was originally started to chronicle my reading habits and most of the posts over the years have been book reviews. At the moment, I'm not reading a ton of books. Part of that is I'm having trouble finding novels that hold my interest, and the other part is a recent flurry of writing activity.
I'm well into a crime novel with my pal and frequent co-author James A. Moore. I've also got two short stories in the works,a YA book planned for later in the year and a couple of other book projects in various stages of pre-production as the film boys say.
It's good to be busy, but I do miss all the reading time. Mostly I've been reading short stories and novellas by folks like William Preston, Josh Reynolds, Joe Konrath and others. I'll try to talk about that soon.
I did get another nifty item for my Don Glut/Dr. Spektor collection and I'll post a pic and a bit of info later.
Anyway, that's what's going on. I'm sure some new mania will catch my attention soon and I'll have more to blog about.
Monday, February 17, 2014
The snow and ice caused me to have to wait for the weekend to get to the comics store. The only new comic I had waiting for me was CONAN:PEOPLE OF THE BLACK CIRCLE #4, which finishes up the mini series. I enjoyed it, though I still think Roy Thomas, John Buscema, and Alfredo Alcala did a better job back in the day.
Did find a couple of packages waiting for me. My pal Cliff lets me have packages sent to his comic store because there's always someone there to receive them. One was the second volume in the collected boxing fiction of Robert E. Howard. Nifty and very pulpish cover on that one.
The other package held all eleven volumes of THE NEW ADVENTURES OF FRANKENSTEIN written by Donald F. Glut, the creator of Doctor Spektor, Dagar the Invincible, Tragg and the Sky Gods, and other comic series. Each one of these magazines contains a full novel. Don has long been a fan of the Universal Horror Monsters and really of monsters in general. His comic book work is full of references to Frankenstein, The Mummy, Dracula, Night of the Demon, Jekyll and Hide, and so forth, and these books contain much of the same. Over the course of the 11 books, Frankenstein's monster encounters Dracula, a werewolf, a mummy, dinosaurs, the Dark Gods from Dagar and Spektor, cavemen, sorcerers, robots, zombies, and all kinds of other horror tropes.
And the best thing is, I bought this set directly from Don Glut himself! All are in near mint condition and all are autographed by Don. Don tells me that he is writing a 12th and final Frankenstein novel which will tie together all the monster's appearances in his work, including Doctor Spektor, The Invaders, Don's films (He's an Indy filmmaker too) and the novels. Looking forward to that.
So yeah, lots of nifty stuff acquired over the weekend.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
So, since I'm not going anywhere and I have a nice mug of coffee and some oatmeal cookies, I think it's time I returned to the frozen wastes of Northern Nehwon (No when spelled backwards) and join those two hardy cragsmen, Fafhrd and the Mouser, as they climb into danger, action, and adventure.
know Georgia has been hit with a major ice storm. This is the parking lot at my apartment this morning.
Oddly, no one is at the pool.
Oddly, no one is at the pool.
Saturday, February 08, 2014
Thursday, February 06, 2014
Look what my buddy Cliff got me for my birthday yesterday. The Weird Writings of H.P. Lovecraft, which collects all the stories Lovecraft wrote for Weird Tales magazine, actually shot from the magazines, so original illustrations and all. As close as one can get to reading them as they were originally published without owning the actual mags. I shall shelve this with the Robert E. Howard volumes of the same series. Thanks again, Cliff!
Sunday, February 02, 2014
The viewpoint character for the story is a young man named Mark Banion, who grew up in the town of Trimble North Carolina, hearing the stories about the abandoned textile mill on the opposite side of Catch River in the shadow of Music Mountain. The people of Trimble did not cross the old river bridge to the mill. Nobody ever went there.
Mark learned a few things about the mill from one of the town's older citizens, mainly that the native Indians who once lived in the area had been afraid of something in the spot where the mill had been built, and that one night everyone who worked in the mill and lived in the houses that had been built by the owners had simply vanished. An entire small community gone.
Mark left town on a football scholarship but eventually wandered back to take a job as a coach at the local high school. Here he met pretty history teacher Ruth Covell, a young woman with a burning curiosity about the old mill. As you can probably guess, Ruth makes and ill-advised trip over the Catch River bridge, but not before she and Mark run into a stranger who's using an old wood-shop in town to repair his guitar, an instrument with silver strings.
When things turn bad, John goes into action, but the reader doesn't learn his name until the very end of the story. When NOBODY EVER GOES THERE made its original magazine appearance, many probably didn't realize it was a John the Balladeer story until they were halfway through. At that time (1981) Manly Wade Wellman was writing a lot of Southern Mountain horror tales that didn't feature any of his series characters. I first read the story in the Paizo collection of John the Balladeer stories so I wasn't surprised when John showed up.
Anyway, this wasn't John's last appearance, and later stories went back to the original format so as I said, this one's an interesting anomaly.